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Matching messages to the values underlying value-expressive and social-adjustive attitudes: reconciling an old theory with a contemporary measurement approach

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Functional theory defines value-expressive attitudes as attitudes that are formed to aid in the achievement of one's values, and social-adjustive attitudes as attitudes that are formed from the desire to affiliate with others. The current investigation argues that both functions are based in a person's values, with the social-adjustive function being a specific form of a value-expressive attitude. Contemporary approaches to this theory have argued that these attitude functions can be inferred from scores on the self-monitoring scale, thus eliminating the need to measure the values underlying these functions. The current investigation argues that the success of studies using the self-monitoring scale to infer these functions should be due to the covariance of the other-directedness dimension of the scale with the values underlying those attitudes. Overall, the findings of the investigation indicate that the formation of these functional attitudes depends more on the match between the value-content of the persuasive messages and the extent to which the message recipients hold those values than their level of other-directedness. Other-directedness did not covary with the values that underlie value-expressive and social-adjustive attitudes, but did aid in the reception of the social-adjustive message. Thus, the research using the self-monitoring scale to infer functions cannot be fully reconciled with the conceptualizations of value-expressive and social-adjustive attitudes.
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Keywords: Attitudes; Matching Messages; Measurement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication at North Carolina State University 2: Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication date: 01 June 2001

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